POLITICAL fallout is pushing Paradise Garden Boracay Resort and Convention Centre, the first and only halal-certified resort in the Visayas since last month, towards the large Muslim MICE markets in the region and beyond.
Hannah Yulo, director of sales and marketing, said there is unmet demand from Muslim travellers in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Middle East, South Korea and Russia.
The push factor, however, has been the Scarborough Shoal dispute between China and the Philippines that has affected Boracay’s top market, China.
“We get small numbers now,” Yulo said, but added that the property is receiving many inquiries and expects to host several Muslim MICE groups this year.
Explaining how the resort got on board with halal cuisine, Yulo shared that a 28-pax incentive group from Malaysia had requested for a halal menu last November and that spurred it to acquire halal certification from the Islamic Da’Wah Council of the Philippines.
Since then, the resort’s main kitchen has been converted to a halal one while a separate and brand-new kitchen serves non-halal food. It has also prepared a prayer room and guestrooms with a Koran, qiblah and prayer mat.
Furthermore, the resort has Muslim members of staff and the general manager also has experience working in Brunei, a Muslim destination.
Yulo also said that the resort has set up a committee to oversee halal requests, needs and concerns, while staff have attended halal-related meetings including the World Halal Forum in Manila last November and the recent Philippine Halal Assembly in Manila, and were invited to a halal summit in South Korea in August.